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POP CULTURE CATHOLIC | The brotherhood of the baby bump

At the beginning of June, a fashion show at London’s Fashion Week piqued my interest.

I’m usually not interested in modern haute couture as I typically find its offerings to be absurd. This particular show exceeded that: it featured several male models sporting rubber prosthetic pregnancy stomachs.

The models went down the catwalk with these bare bellies that were clearly not meant to be mistaken for the result of imbibing in too much food or drink. These were fake baby bumps. On men. Offered up as fashion.

The brand behind the look, Supernatural, Extraterrestrial & Co., explained the look with the following statement, “we’re prepared to welcome a future of male pregnancy.”

Oh really?

This bizarre take on fashion seems to tell the consumer that gender is fluid and and pregnancy is punishment. Both of which are, of course, false.

The cultural jabs at pregnancy are hackneyed. Anyone who is pro-life understands that popular culture — even actual culture, if we are to believe the recent surveys by pro-life organizations — does not support life in the womb. We get it Hollywood, you consider pregnancy to be one of the largest albatrosses ever to hang itself around woman’s neck. Thanks for your input.

So it’s easy to understand, given the culture’s prevailing hostility toward both “the patriarchy” and the unborn, that this interesting take on men’s fashion was meant to be simply a message that men should suffer, and carrying a child in their body is the means of that suffering.

Absolutely befuddling is the statement that the company is “prepared to welcome a future of male pregnancy.”

What?

It’s surprising that Supernatural, Extraterrestrial & Co. hasn’t adopted the aquatic child-bearing male seahorse as its logo. A shame, really, if you ask me, given these recent fashion offerings.

Try as hard as the culture might, there is no such thing as “male pregnancy” in humans, nor will there ever be. Because — spoiler alert — men and women are different.

“He created them male and female. When they were created, He blessed them and named them mankind” (Genesis 5:2).

The sexes have been divinely bestowed with the most amazing and almost miraculous gifts. Yes, many of these gifts are different, but each are amazing in their own way, and here’s the best part — they’re complementary gifts. What man’s and woman’s bodies cannot do alone — together, they can.

As Catholics, we cannot allow the culture to rewrite the truth. We all must stand in the gap like the man who is described in Ezekiel 22:30. We can look to the prophetic admonition of the great American writer Flannery O’Connor who said, “Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you.” And prepare yourselves, because if you think the age is pushing hard … it can always push harder.

Westhoff is director of communications for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

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